Mont Brown Talks Touring With Meek Mill, The Kickback Festival and Giving Back to Philly

Many dream of becoming a famous rapper, and some people get the opportunity to pursue it. Few become superstars, but have you ever wondered how many have been close to brass ring and opted to go a different route? Meet Mont Brown, rapper-turned-manager, festival host, fashion designer, philanthropist and entrepreneur.

The Philadelphia native, South West Philly to be exact, had humble beginnings and chose to rap to make it out. He put out a song “Super Crazy Dumb Stupid” that grew into a sensation. So much so, that he ended up on a major tour. Read up on where his career went, and his thoughts on a few relevant topics in the world.

Armon: I read about 10 years ago you had a pretty big song that gave you the opportunity to go on tour with Meek Mill. What was that like?

Mont: Yeah, it was cool. I had the song “Super Crazy Dumb Stupid” that blew up and from that I had the chance to go to different states. It was a school tour we were on. I knew Meek from Philly, just rapping, the music scene and nightlife. It was great to see new things, meet new people and try new foods.

Armon: Coming back from that you made the choice that rather than pursue a career in music, you wanted to impact the community. How tough was that choice to make? I feel like most people in that situation would put out more music, try to work with Rick Ross eventually and all that.

Mont: I continued making music but that narrative changed. I realized how fortunate I was, so instead of charging money to get into my shows I would tell people to bring canned goods and clothing for the homeless. I was still doing music but I had the Kickback Festival which really grew over time,

Armon: Are you still making music now?

Mont: No, I just manage.

Armon: Given your community service and The KickBack Festival, what do you feel is Hip Hop’s responsibility, or lack thereof, for participating in social justice?

Mont: You see everyone stepping up now with reform, but it was happening back in the day. It’s all about making it a cool factor. Meek is saying “reform, justice” and everyone is trying to get behind it because Meek is the cool guy. People have been going to bat though, these issues have always existed.

Armon: Agreed. It’s funny, listening back to JAY-Z‘s music and a lot of things we’re seeing and dealing with now, he’s been talking about his whole career. It’s weird because people clearly love Hov but they have trouble taking in what he says. Whereas someone like Meek or 21 Savage when discussing different social justice issues they resonate more with people. Do you think it’s a generational thing?

Mont: It’s a generational thing for sure. Your ears hear what they want to hear. Hov has been kicking that shit, Tupac used to kick that shit too. It goes over people’s ears because it’s not a cool thing, or a “cool” guy isn’t saying it. When a younger cool guy says something, it makes all the sense in the world. A lot of times it’s how you say it, how you break it down and how you deliver a message.

Armon: What’s the vibe like in Philly right now?

Mont: It’s a good vibe. Music scene, so many dope artists. Meek, PnB Rock, Lil Uzi Vert, and a few others. We’re coming off a championship with the Eagles, the Sixers look good. Elton Brand is doing a great job. And then when it comes to art and fashion, we on the rise there as well. Philly is a good place to be right now. A lot of support and energy,

Armon: What are some things you have in store for 2019?

Mont: Anything I’m connected to, I just want to help take to the next level. I co-manage an artist named Rico Havoc and I just wanna keep guiding him. Push him in his career and take it to the next level. I got a clothing line that’s booming right now, so I wanna take that the furthest it’ll go. Keep pushing my Kickbacks and my non-profit.

Armon: What’s the community’s response to Kickbacks?

Mont: They look forward to it every summer. Outside of Made in America, my stage provides that platform for these younger artists to get their talents off. Everybody touched me stage. Freeway, Beanie Sigel, PnB Rock, Bri Steves. It’s a staple in the community and every artist loves it. I’ve put over 1000 artists on my stages.

Armon: Wow. So is it safe to say Kickback Festival is like the Philly version of SOB’s?

Mont: Yeah! For sure, you gotta touch my stage. Ask PnB Rock if y’all ever see him about Mont Brown and Kickback Festival, he’ll tell you. If you wanna talk musicians, I’ve had Darryl Robinson and people in Wiz Khalifa, Pharrell and Snoop Dogg‘s band.

Armon: What can we expect to hear from your artist, Rico Havoc?

Mont: He’s working on his next project right now. He’s signed to Atlantic Records. I’m not sure when it’s going to be dropping but it could be the summer. A bunch of touring. Great kid, good music. I just want to help him be the best he can be.

Armon: What’s the experience like having been an artist, touring with Meek and helping someone navigate their career? Do you feel that experience helps you manage Rico?

Mont: Yeah, in terms of the do’s and don’t’s. I can say “oh nah, we aren’t going to make that move” or “oh, let’s go do this.” It’s definitely a different time but I’ve got the knowledge to share and I think it’s paid off.

Armon: What’s the biggest “don’t” that you’ve learned in music?

Mont: Don’t make commitments that you can’t live up to. It’s about being a person of your word. People have to be able to rely on you, and when they can’t is when they look at you weird.

Armon: How do you feel about Cardi B winning Best Rap Album at the Grammy’s?

Mont: I feel like it’s dope. There’s so many layers to her story. It’s dope seeing someone coming from where she comes from, the environment that I’m familiar with. She was an underdog and I root for underdogs. For her to take that platform and get to where she is is unbelievable. It’s a dream come true and for her to win Best Rap Album as a woman coming from a reality show. It just goes to show that at the end of the day, what God got for you get got for you. We’re literally watching it unfold and it’s great.

Armon: I’m glad you brought up Bri Steves actually, I’ve seen her twice and she’s amazing. Same kind of energy Cardi has. Have you connected with her beyond just having her perform?

Mont: Yeah, I knew Bri before she got her deal and blew up. We’re friends and toured together with Rico and two other artists under Atlantic. That’s my dawg, it’s a blessing to see her doing her thing.

Armon: Is there something you haven’t yet accomplished or learned that you want to?

Mont: Yeah, every day you learn something. I never want to be the smartest person in the room. That’s life, seeking knowledge and growing. I want to be better than I was yesterday. I’m just tapping into the fashion side, but I feel I have more to just learn about life. I want to learn more about everything.

Armon: As a fashion guy, what are your thoughts on Gucci and what item they recently put out?

Mont: They knew what they were doing, it was marketing. They knew exactly what they were doing. Hey man, this isn’t the first time it happened. Other companies have done it, but Gucci exposed themselves. People will do whatever to keep their names in people’s mouths. I’m not cool with it but another company is going to do it again.

Armon: What keeps you going knowing we have to fight against stuff like this every day? What keeps you pushing forward?

Armon: What keeps you going knowing we have to fight against stuff like this every day? What keeps you pushing forward?

Mont: Until people realize it’s all about peace and love, it’s always going to be toxic. It’s always going to be turmoil. People have to stop worrying about other people’s pockets, looking at each other’s houses and clothing. What’s for you is for you. We have to get reprogrammed. I’m all about love, peace and happiness. I just try to take care of my community. I love the whole of Philadelphia itself, but I’m from South West Philly. I’m just trying to do everything I can do with my time here to take care of my part of the city and hopefully that catches wildfire. I’m just here to do my part.

Armon: What’s one thing about Philly that you think a lot of people may not be aware of?

Mont: I don’t wanna say that we’re smarter than what other people might perceive us as, I don’t know. I think people look at people from Philly like we’re raw, we’re fighters and we just come to fuck shit up. Nah, we try to do business, you know what I’m saying? I feel like they put that on us. Especially with the music when you look at artists like State Property, Cassidy, Meek, PnB, it’s always drama. I feel like they look at us in a negative light, but we’re here to do business. We ain’t thugs, we just come from what we come from. Philly makes you strong like that though.

Armon: I appreciate that. I think people hear of Philly and think of City of Brotherly Love, Fresh Prince, cheesesteaks, the Sixers, and the Eagles so hearing that is refreshing. I think people would really benefit from hearing that.

Mont: For sure, they think we’re all street kids. We woke, we well aware of what’s going on.

Armon: What was your best album of 2018?

Mont: I’m gonna have to go with Nip and Meek. Pusha too.

Armon: Anything to promote?

Mont: Hit me on Instagram, click the link in my bio and cop my clothing. Stuff is taking off right now.


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